The FDA Wants More Money

Unlike Nancy Nord (she’s the CPSC boss that tried to hint to Congress that her agency needed more funding through sly winks and interpretive dance numbers), the FDA chief is ignoring Bush’s “do not ask for more money” rule and demanding more funds.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The FDA’s leader, in an unusual public departure from Bush administration policy, says in an interview that he requested more than the 2.95% increase in overall agency appropriations proposed in the president’s 2009 budget, though he declines to discuss specific figures. An outside advisory panel yesterday suggested the agency needs about 150% added to its appropriated base budget, phased in over five years, to cope with challenges such as inspecting a rising tide of imports.

“I think to do what we need to do requires substantially more dollars than what has been invested in the FDA thus far,” Dr. von Eschenbach says. “This is a systemic overhaul that must go on over a period of years.”

Congress, however, may be reluctant to give money to such a poorly run agency:

One Democrat, Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, who chairs a House subcommittee that has held a series of hearings about the FDA, has called for Dr. von Eschenbach’s resignation. He and John Dingell, another Michigan Democrat, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, say they will seek broad legislative reforms of the agency.

“He’s the captain of the ship,” Mr. Stupak says. “He’s the one who comes here and tells me, ‘Mr. Chairman, everything is wonderful, everything is just wonderful.'” He adds that “Congress is in no mood to put money into an FDA that is badly broken and they have no plan.”

The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of 1/5 of all consumer products.

FDA Chief Is in Budget Bind [Wall Street Journal]


Edit Your Comment

  1. darkened says:

    The FDA ensures only corporations they approve of profit and others fail. That is all.

  2. racerchk says:

    just like all these other american corporations…..greedy – out to screw consumers.

  3. crabbyman6 says:

    I’m glad to see that at least the administration realizes the FDA is poorly run and won’t give them money. Maybe the next step should be to force or help it reform so it can oversee public safety like it should.

  4. topgun says:

    If Congress refused to fund every government agency that was poorly managed taxpayers would save trillions.

  5. azntg says:

    @crabbyman6: Thing is, that’s a bit of a Catch-22.

    By withholding funds, there’s a possibility that the agency will reform to try and vie for more money. Very plausible if the staff and the leader are have strong moral convictions, but…

    But there’s an equally likely opportunity (if not stronger, in this case) for the agency to grow even more corrupt. If corporations are willing to pay more easily than the government and the other branches of the government aren’t exactly inclined to take drastic actions against it…

    In any case, I’d prefer the money going to the government agencies than the money being squandered abroad for the time being.

  6. punkrawka says:

    Is that FDA logo current? It’s very ’80s.

  7. crabbyman6 says:

    @azntg: That’s an excellent point, thanks.

    I’d also rather see the money spent domestically, but if a poorly managed organization gets money they’re just going to squander it and deprive other important areas(non military of course) of funding. We also know that’s not likely to happen.

    Maybe they should put the money towards some sort of oversight and restructuring.

  8. kellyd says:

    @crabbyman6: Actually, it’s the fault of the Administration that the FDA sucks. Bush has been systematically squeezing this agency since he took office. I mean, as everyone knows, industries are better choices to regulate themselves voluntarily. We don’t need a government agency to be sure the greedy bastards don’t pass us tainted food and drugs–they would never prioritize their bottom line over the health and safety of Americans.

  9. crabbyman6 says:

    @kellyd I’m pretty sure the FDA has pretty much always sucked (at least as far as I can recall). They have too much to do, not enough money and too much outside influence, not a good combination. Not that I’m a Bush supporter, just saying. :)

    Also, do I detect sarcasm????

  10. Joewithay says:

    @punkrawka: Yeah, but isn’t 80s style sort of coming back?

  11. crabbyman6 says:

    @crabbyman6: hey look! I figured out the reply button! :/

  12. chemman says:

    How many of you out there realize that the FDA does not only get funding from the government? I work in the pharmaceutical industry and every time we submit a new drug application, we have to pay a fee to the agency if we want it reviewed in a timely manner. So we essentially are paying them to do their job. If not, it could sit in their pile for a year or two until they “get around to it” because they are too busy fast tracking the drug approvals of the bigger corporations that are paying their salaries. No conflict of interest there huh?

  13. chemman says:

    @punkrawka: Don’t worry, I’ve heard they formed a committee to decide if a committee is needed to think about updating their logo. They only need 7.5 million to get the committee up and going. Posh resorts in Hawaii aren’t cheap after all. (I’m obviously exaggerating here for effect but dealing with a poorly run government agency can be very frustrating)

  14. @crabbyman6: You seem to have it backwards.

    It is poorly run because:
    A. Who is appointed by the administration (and subsequently confirmed by the senate).

    B. An utter lack of funding, by the administration.

    The problem does not actually start at the regulatory body.

  15. Rachacha says:

    @chemman: While your company may have had to pay fees to the FDA, often times those funds go right into the US treasury and the agency sees none of that money. I know this is the case for fines that are levied, but I am not sure if it is the case for “application” or “processing” fees for approval of a new drug/medical device/etc.

  16. chemman says:

    @Rachacha: Nope, that money goes directly to the FDA for their budget to pay for inspectors/reviewers. The FDA cannot actually fine a company, they can force recalls or shut down manufacturing due to issues but when it comes to legal enforcement/fines, that can only come from the department of justice, when an infraction rises to the level of criminal or monetary fines it is turned over to the DOJ for prosecution/collection. The only time the FDA cab levy fines is when it is agreed upon in a consent decree which both parties sign off on.

  17. pkrieger says:

    To those who are confused what chemman is talking about, the FDA collects user-fees. Congress doesn’t appropriate enough money to the FDA for them to be able to do their work in a reasonable amount of time, so the industry pays the rest. Basically, the industry decides that they want a certain level of performance (for example: a certain percentage of applications submitted to the agency reviewed in a certain period of time), they get together with the agency, work on an agreement that Congress then passes. PDUFA was apart of the FDA reform bill passed this fall.
    However, chemman implies that these fees are some sort of “speed pass.” They aren’t optional. If you want something reviewed, you pay the fee. So there are no submissions sitting in a pile while other things “cut in line” because they paid the fee. Some things to do get an accelerate review, but thats a different kettle of fish.

  18. thatgirlinnewyork says:

    @chemman: we realize it, all right. we also realize that the FDA is a repository of ex-pharmaceutical executives, so I say burn it down to the ground and hire (non-influenced by pharma $) scientists and ethicists to populate it, for a start.